Session begins with reading 212c and a general outline of Alcibiades entrance, discussing potential parallel elements myth via, characters, drama, dialogue. Pierre notes that Alcibiades hanging around the door, as also Socrates before arriving at the banquet is at the doorway, is a major theme of the whole work.
Further exploration discusses potential principles involved, that plenty is 'intoxication', and poverty is 'straight/sober', does Agathon line up with 'the good' – being called the 'wisest', the most beautiful. Violet and Ivy are considered Dionysian symbols and Pierre also describes the language used as such.
However, nothing appears to fit, nothing lines up, everything appears backwards. Then if we go back into the myth we can see how it doesn't fit - so far our premise is that the elements of the myth are there, but its all mixed.
Looking at the dialogue “See who are there, and if there is anyone among them fit for this company, call them in. If not, say we are no longer drinking” Does Agathon propose something? Does he hold to it or is it violated? So they let an intoxicated man (Alcibiades) in, and thereby violated his rule. This tells us something possible about the possible structure of the story - if it was not violated, it would have remained noble, continued the dialogue, continued the speeches. Yet, it looks like the myth is violated, the proposal violated, Agathon's speech violated.
Pierre remarks that in order to play this game, none of these points have sufficient weight in itself, one needs the mosaic or overall image to see if its possible – hence to identify each reference in the speech. As an example, having thus spoken, the rest praised his oration, but Aristophanes endeavoured to say something and then is suddenly interrupted by Alcibiades. The phase of discussion that is interrupted is with the theme of rebuttal, reflections, defence, attack, explanation etc. and the moment it begins is the moment it is ended by the interruption.
Pierre discusses how our everyday world is the shadow of the divine (copy & model) and is always weaker, and stands inferior to reality - therefore the transformation of figures, left to right, right to left, an all the confusion that follows. If we hold that possibility, hence switch the symmetry of it the person who is the lowest of all the speeches, is now the highest, praised by Alcibiades, Agathon proclaimed to be the wisest, the speech before Socrates' speech.
Raises the hypothesis that Alcibiades is going to be talking from this viewpoint, his vision stunted, therefore he'll be able to see a great deal, talk about Socrates, but only discusses the shadows. He can say anything untrue about Socrates, so he can say the shadows without being untrue
Next is the issue over the battle over the seating, which ends up with the great sitting. Who was supposed to go next? The Philosopher, the tragic, the comic. What is relationship between philosophy, comedy, and tragedy? Given he is very careful about the sitting arrangements, if we have the seating arrangements in front of us we can see what's being interrupted. Because the order was (from left to right – comedy, tragedy, philosophy) : Aristophanes -> Agathon -> Socrates.
Alcibiades interjects between Agathon and Socrates – in between tragedy and philosophy. Alcibiades could therefore possibly be a mean between the two, Agathon & Socrates, tragedy and philosophy. Representing the in between of comedy and tragedy, and becomes the mean between the two, ridiculous and tragic, therefore, pathetic. At the end, Alcibiades claims that the party must drink, not be allowed to be sober, and therefore reverses the principles set from the beginning. Alcibiades therefore engages to be their leader in drinking.
[Thanks to BillD for videotaping and NickZ for title, cataloguing, and notes.]